Peace Corps Holidays: Fiji

banner holidays

Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas

This year will be Adriane Kline’s last chance to celebrate the holiday traditions of Fiji, where she serves as a youth development volunteer and is in her second year of service. Below Kline, a native of Beulah, Mich., describes how she plans to celebrate the holidays in Fiji and the hardest part of this particular festive season.

“This holiday season will be different from last year because I will be spending Christmas and New Year’s without the company of other Peace Corps volunteers. I will be in my village the entire time. Last year, during the holiday season I was surrounded by other volunteers. I spent Christmas in my language teacher’s village with four other volunteers on an outer island. Our celebration was full of drinking kava, eating fish, catching crabs and relaxing in the shade. This year I am looking forward to being immersed in Fijian holiday celebrations. It will be great to stay on my island and with the families that have adopted me here.” Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Fiji”

Peace Corps Holidays: Volunteers offer advice on spending the season abroad

banner holidays

Because Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment, it allows volunteers to celebrate the holiday season in their host countries and participate in new traditions and customs, while also sharing their own. From now until January, we will highlight stories from Peace Corps volunteers who share their experiences spending the holidays overseas. From one Peace Corps volunteer to another, these volunteers share their advice to those embarking on their first festive season in service.

Indianapolis native, Jennifer Wininiger spends the holidays in Thailand this year where she is working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Teaching Collaboration and Community Service program in her local village.
Indianapolis native, Jennifer Wininger (center) spends the holidays in Thailand this year where she is working as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Teaching Collaboration and Community Service program in her local village.

“Last year at this time, I was eagerly awaiting the beginning of the holiday season. Like many Americans, Thanksgiving for my family is the kickoff of this exciting time of year. It is usually a time filled with family, friends and great food. This year is a little different. Not only am I miles away from family and friends and the comfort foods I love, the tropical climate doesn’t feel like the typical Midwestern holiday season I am accustomed to. Since Thailand is predominately Buddhist, the holidays that are typically associated with this time of year are not celebrated in my rural village. But, all these differences allow me to use this time of year in a unique way. I think it is important to be thankful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. This vastly different holiday season, I have the opportunity to explore a completely different country.”
– Jennifer Wininger, Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand Continue reading “Peace Corps Holidays: Volunteers offer advice on spending the season abroad”

Bloomington, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Richardson.Denisha_Fiji

Denisha Richardson, 30, of Bloomington, Minn., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteer. Richardson will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. She will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“I have always enjoyed helping others and serving in my community,” Richardson said. “There are two quotes that truly inspire and motivate me: ‘Think globally, act locally’ and ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ These two quotes remind me that we are all interconnected and no matter how small the contribution, it all has meaning and impact on the lives of others.” Continue reading “Bloomington, Minn., native begins Peace Corps service in Fiji”

Iowa couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Semprini_Fiji

Jason Semprini, 28, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and his wife Laura, 27, of Iowa City, Iowa, have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Semprinis will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. They will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“We had both dreamed of serving with the Peace Corps long before we met,” Jason Semprini said. “Part of what brought us together was our mutual desire to see the world and serve others. Along with love and support, we see commitment as our key to success while serving with the Peace Corps: committing to each other, committing to the mission, committing to the community within Fiji, and committing to peace.”  Continue reading “Iowa couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji”

Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Hillgren_Fiji

Eric Hillgren, 30, his wife Katie Hillgren, 29, of Springfield, Mo., have been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteers. The Hillgrens will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. They will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“My husband and I have been talking about the Peace Corps since college,” Katie Hillgren said. “We have always wanted the opportunity to live and work overseas and experience life in new ways.” Continue reading “Springfield, Mo., couple begins Peace Corps service in Fiji”

Jacksonville, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Fiji

Bland.Brianna_FijiBland, 23, of Jacksonville, Ill., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for Fiji Aug. 31 to begin training as a youth development volunteer. Bland will live and work at the community level to promote and develop healthy lifestyles and environmental awareness in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Youth and Sport. She will coordinate several skill-building activities, including co-teaching life skills classes, after school clubs and school gardens.

“I joined the Peace Corps to become culturally competent and pass on my knowledge and passion for health education to those who are less fortunate,” Bland said. Continue reading “Jacksonville, Ill., native begins Peace Corps service in Fiji”

Ohio State Peace Corps recruiter receives agency’s Lillian Carter Award for commitment to service

SONY DSC
President Jimmy Carter, Jack Campbell, and Peace Corps Chief of Staff Laura Chambers at the Lillian Carter Awards in Atlanta.

Former President Jimmy Carter and Peace Corps Chief of Staff Laura Chambers presented the 2015 Lillian Carter Award to returned volunteer Jack Campbell, of Columbus, Ohio, Wednesday at a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Campbell, 84, began service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Fiji in 1989 at age 58 and completed a second assignment in Botswana from 1992-1994.

“From the very beginning, Peace Corps volunteers have entered service at all ages, from all walks of life,” Chambers said. “We’re so inspired by senior volunteers … who take the wisdom and skills they’ve acquired over their lifetime and share them so willingly with others, proving that it’s never too late to make a difference.” Continue reading “Ohio State Peace Corps recruiter receives agency’s Lillian Carter Award for commitment to service”